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  • Writer's pictureTom Miller, CCIM

Industrial Real Estate Representation – A Franchise or Handcrafted Service?


According to a recent report, franchised businesses are expected to have a record year in 2015. In commercial real estate, national franchised branches are plentiful in all markets, and the market here in Reno and Sparks, Nevada, is no exception. Fortunately, we also have locally owned and operated commercial real estate firms, which means tenants, buyers and sellers of industrial real estate have a choice to make. If you are leasing or buying a location or looking for a tenant or a buyer, which is better – the local branch of a national franchise or a locally owned and operated firm? It’s a difficult question to be sure, but there are a few questions you can ask yourself that should point you in the right direction.

First, ask yourself about the goals of your unique transaction, which tend to vary greatly from one deal to the next. This is indicative of the first major decision that a prospective tenant or buyer faces as he or she begins the industrial real estate transaction process. That is, which firm will be more attentive in first listening to what I need and then being responsive to those needs? Is it more likely to happen with a locally owned and operated firm, or a firm that is a national branch?

Another question to consider – does a certain firm primarily represent landlords or tenants? If you want your agent to advocate solely for your interests – and you do – then you should actively seek a firm that won’t attempt to juggle your interests while also serving their client the landlord. It is technically legal to serve both parties in one transaction. Are you comfortable with that working relationship? To put it another way, consider whether an agent who gets the majority of his business representing a landlord can advocate as strongly as possible for your side of the transaction against his main client.


Third question – are you listening to your gut? Consider an alternate scenario. Imagine you’re in need of advice about a gardening conundrum. Do you feel better served and more comfortable when you go into a locally owned/operated garden shop, for instance, and speaking to the owners and long-time employees about your issue, or would you rather quiz the clerk of the day in the garden section at the nearest big box store? The same reasoning holds true for your real estate transaction. National franchises operate as the high volume shops, while smaller local firms are lower volume, higher service providers. Which makes you feel more comfortable?

Finally, ask yourself if you’re doing the right homework. Go online and conduct a search relevant to your industrial real estate needs. Search for a specific property or ask a question you need answered. Take a careful look at the websites that show up in answer to those search terms, because the World Wide Web is a powerful tool for those firms that take advantage of it. After reviewing websites, schedule meetings with those that stand out. Ask questions about the local market.Expect to see high-quality documentation supporting their answers. The right local agency can easily provide all of that and more.

In some instances, the high-volume franchises agencies might be the best fit for your unique needs. But don’t make that assumption without investigating a locally-owned industrial real estate firm first. You may well be very glad you did.

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Miller Industrial Properties, Sparks, Reno, Nevada
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